Writing Assignment #6: Writing a Scene


The taxi driver pulled up to the curb and got rid of us as quickly as one might a carton of sour milk. The entrance of the trendy hot-spot of Istanbul was unbecoming but as the bouncers smiled, I felt a mixture of coziness and privilege. I knew I was getting in.

Now shielded from the bustling, winding streets of the city, the five of us stared, unconditionally, at the oasis before us. The Bosphorus Bridge, the iconic connector of Europe and Asia, loomed in the open backdrop. Beams of steel and taut wires, strong enough to support hundreds of thousands of vehicles, looked graceful, delicate, and luminous in the moonlight. Lights strung along the wires shown blue, then melded to green, morphed to yellow, and seared into orange, red, and purple before cooling off to blue for just a few seconds. Then the pattern started again. Hundreds of feet below the bridge, the water posed gracefully, a silent rictus upon which cheerful cruise liners, quiet yachts, and flimsy dinghies playfully skated. To me, the water wasn’t quite black, more like a midnight blue pigmented by the reach of the lights above.

The ground level of the club stretched to the water’s edge and was sliced into sections. A second floor verandah, which outlined the club’s ground floor, was nestled with comfy wooden tables and chairs upholstered in stripes of antique whites and reds. Looking down endearingly on the people below, diners sampled the flavors of Istanbul’s haute cuisine placed gingerly around tranquil votives. A cornucopia of aromas flirted with my growing hunger: garlic, myriad grilled meats, sizzling seafood, spicy kebabs, marinated olives, seared vegetables, honey, nuts, fruit, and freshly baked breads.

On the dance floor several dozen bodies festooned with fabrics (sequins, spandex) and trends (distressed designer denim, and stringy, heavy necklaces) caressed the air with their upper appendages, and swerved their hips like pendulums. Their feet stomped around on a smaller-than-expected square consisting of sixteen separate boxes, which flashed on and off in a random mathematical order that mimicked the transitioning lights on the bridge above. Shining down on the dance floor was a brighter-than-life plasma television screen that emanated the glow of celebrities who once, or twice, graced the very same boogie cube. Giggles, shrieks, coos, whispers, and chatter of various decibels only slightly marred the sharpness of the international soundtrack. Da, Da, Di, Da, Da. The bass beat divided the thick air like thunder. In the distance, I could hear the Blue Mosque’s tantalizing call to prayer.

Elsewhere on the ground level, cocktail waitresses fluttered about in punchy stilettos, serving dwellers of sultry, secluded cabanas. Through sheer crimson curtains, I could see smoke oozing from cigarettes and mingling with the ashes of a fat man’s cigar. Just beyond the cabana row, an alcohol infused centerpiece wrapped in sandy wooden paneling held four or five bartenders captive as they attended to patrons who jiggled and gyrated to the syncopated, synthesized melodies. Hands moving seamlessly, the bartenders flipped and spun bottles of tequila, vodka, rum, gin and whiskey around and around, pouring and mixing liquids into glasses like enthusiastic chemists.

The cool breeze that crept in from the water swirled around portable heaters, which lined the floor like lamps with big metal shades and a warm, bright blue-yellow fire in the middle instead of a light bulb. The heat from the lamps, the breeze, and the scents of food, drink, and body braided together and ran like a current through the club’s passageways. My hand grasped the railing as I slowly ascended the staircase.